USA

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are to testify Monday before a congressionally chartered commission that will review the base-closing plan announced Friday. The proposal, which will be sent to President Bush this fall, recommends closing or downsizing 62 major bases and reconfiguring hundreds of others in order to save billions of dollars a year. New England took a major hit, and Connecticut suffered the biggest loss in terms of jobs, with about 8,000 linked to the proposed closure of a submarine base in Groton. Under the plan, bases in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama would add thousands of troops, gaining an estimated 35,000 total new jobs. Bases in Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas - where land is cheaper and plentiful - would see increases, too. Communities that would be negatively impacted, meanwhile, are gearing up to fight the Pentagon's plan, hoping to save jobs, tax revenue, and prestige that come with them.

Senate consideration of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations is unlikely before the end of May because of Democratic objections to an earlier vote, majority leader Bill Frist's spokesman said late last week. President Bush's nomination of Bolton was voted out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 10-to-8 last week without an endorsement. Democrats vowed to hold up the nomination to compel the State Department to provide more information about Bolton, now an undersecretary of State, but the department claims it has already provided everything that is relevant to the nomination.

The government is pledging to take serious action against the pilot whose small plane strayed into restricted airspace over Washington last week, leading to the panicked evacuations of the White House, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, an investigation of the incident could result in the revocation of Hayden "Jim" Sheaffer Jr.'s pilot's license. Student pilot Troy Martin, who was also in the single-engine Cessna 150, does not have a pilot certificate, so he will not be subject to the same action. Sheaffer and Martin took off from Pennsylvania but became lost en route to an air show in North Carolina. After military aircraft forced their landing, the pair were handcuffed and questioned before being released.

The US will restrict imports of pants, shirts, and underwear from China that have surged dramatically since the beginning of the year unless the two countries work out a compromise, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said Friday. Domestic textile groups hailed the Bush administration decision, which they have urged for months. Washington and Beijing will have 120 days to find a solution once the US requests consultations with China, which is expected to happen by the end of this month. If the talks fail, the quotas would remain in place through the end of the year.

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